A mountain trip in Adamello Alps (Italy), 25-31 August 2018

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Day 3. Passo di Cavento. Bivacco Laeng.

We originally planned to climb Passo di Cavento directly from the camping spot. We liked this approach as it is rarely used and it includes only a short patch of wet crevassed glacier. However because of the navigation error we changed the plans and climbed the pass following a conventional route, approaching it on the glacier from the south. This route is more technically challenging. The glacier above Sella di Niscli was wet (covered with snow) so we roped up. Following almost crevass-free ascent on the west, we turned north under the rocks moving parallel to the crevasses which were clearly visible. One has to be careful as there are some longitudinal narrow crevasses. After passing under Corno di Cavento the slope becomes steeper. We were crossing the glaciers rather late, so the snow was balling up under the crampons. The ascent on the rocks is equipped with metal brackets and cables and does not present technical difficulties. Bivacco Laeng (on Passo di Cavento) is a metal box with two triple bunk beds covered with blankets. Two of our party had to sleep on the floor between the bunk beds. It would have been hard to find space for more than 8 people, but there is a spot for pitching a tent nearby. The chances of bivacco being occupied are pretty low, there aren't many people in the area. There is no water on the pass, we had to collect snow from the glacier below the pass.

The navigation error was made when we started ascending from the camping spot. We initially followed the boundary between the rocky slabs and the scree but then turned further west and climbed the slabs eventually finding ourselves surrounded by fairly steep smooth slabs. Climbing them with backpacks was considered too dangerous and we turned back. We should have gone further north on the scree and only then turn west. The route was clearly seen the previous day and is visible on the photos. The main reason for our error was the incorrect position of the path on the online Kompass map which we were following.

The red line shows our track. The arrow shows the direction of travel, the tent icon shows the previous camping spot, and the house icon shows Bivacco Laeng.

Packing up in the morning.

There were several unexploded shells in a little stream not far from our tents.

We first climbed the scree and the rocks towards Passo di Cavento. The view of the Lago di Lares and the lagoon with icebergs below the glacier.

Vedretta di Lares. There is a deep blue funnel-shaped hole on the glacier. We saw pictures of this glacier from previous years; the funnel is always there but in different places on the glacier so it evidently flows with the glacier.

Climbing rock slabs.

What next? We got stuck among the steep slabs and in order to guarantee sufficient time to climb the pass today, we decided to go back and approach the pass on the glacier bypassing the rocks.

Cottongrass in a little rock pool.

We got back on the glacier and went to have a look at the blue funnel. The hole under a piece of rock is a moulin - a deep shaft in the glacier carved by meltwater.

We did not get too close to the big funnel on the glacier.

One of the many patches of barbed wire on the glacier.

Apart from barbed wire, we saw planks, bits of metal, cables, bullet cartridges. How could people fight in such remote and harsh places?

Victor and Sonya.

Ksenia and Lova.

Yasha and Maria.

Anna and Igor.

First crevasses.

Walking through the zone of crevasses was not difficult.

Route finding on the glacier.

We roped up after lunch, as the glacier was covered by snow. We got up to the edge of the glacier just below the rocks and then traversed the slope towards Passo di Cavento.

View towards south from the glacier.

Rocks above the glacier. They are very rugged as though somebody cut them out of the cardboard with scissors and placed on the snow, like theatrical scenery.

The glacier is covered with grooves. One can move fairly quickly by stepping from one ridge between the grooves to another.

A short break: this is the highest place of our trip. Even though the altitude is not too high (ca. 3200 m), we need to take frequent breaks to avoid getting out of breath. The mountain at the far end of the glacier is Care Alto.

We can now see Passo di Cavento. Zoom in to see Bivacco Laeng, a yellow bothy where we spent the night. But first we had to descend below the pass and climb the rocks to the pass.

The last obstacle on the glacier: we had to jump across a crevasse. Anna is captured in flight.

The rocks below the glacier. We are packing away crampons.

Initial ascent is on the metal brackets, then the climb is protected with a fixed cable.

A panorama from the pass. One can see today's and even yesterday's route. The red line shows yesterday's descent on the glacier. One can see our tracks near the right-hand edge of the glacier.

Bivacco Laeng is a small metal box attached to the rocks with four cables. It is cladded with wood panels on the inside. It has two triple bunk beds, with shelving for crockery. That's it: minimalistic but sufficient to spend a comfortable night. The space inside was very limited, we had to leave all our stuff in backpacks outside. There were plenty of wool blankets so we did not even need our sleeping bags. Lova is melting snow on the stove. He had to climb down to the glacier several times to fetch snow in the cooking pots. We melted enough snow for the dinner and breakfast.

The cooks on duty are making dinner. It was not that easy in the limited space between the beds. They had to cook while lying on the beds.

Looking at the Vedretta della Lobbia, our tomorrow's destination.

One valley is already in the dark but the other one is sunlit. Our tracks on the glacier are very picturesque.

Sunset. The mountains look like Roerich's paintings.

Washing up was difficult as water was in short supply.

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